Tony Elumelu’s Africapitalism: A New Paradigm of Philantrophy?
The face of philanthropy in Africa is changing. New models, approaches, and practises are being leveraged to tackle some of the continent’s most intractable challenges from youth employment to healthcare access. A key point of convergence for the continent’s new generation of philanthropists is a departure from aid and charity based models to market based approaches which can drive sustainable development and growth. One such initiative is the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), founded by the founder and chairman of Nigeria’s United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Heirs Holdings. The Lagos based non profit organisation is committed to driving entrepreneurship and private sector development across the African continent. The foundation is influenced by its founder’s philosophy called Africapitalism-in which he believes that African development will be achieved through the agency of entrepreneurship and private sector development.
The foundation believes in the development of business leaders who are going to build enterprises that will undergird the competitive and prosperity of African economies. Thus, the TEF is involved in a range of activities that include research, i m p a c t i n v e s t i n g , a n d l e a d e r s h i p development. In 2014, the organisation launched its Africapitalism institute at the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Abuja Nigeria. The institute would seek to further the ideals of Africapitalism. Early in 2015, the organisation launched its flagship p r o g r a m , t h e T o n y E l u m e l u Entrepreneurship Programme with $100 million of Tony’s own money. The program intends to support 10,000 entrepreneurs in 10 years. The program will target entrepreneurs with business ideas that will be developed and implemented in Africa. The program will provide interventions t h a t i n c l u d e m e n t o r i n g , s k i l l s development, and the provision of seed capital.
The TEF also runs the Elumelu Professional Program (EPP) which places graduates with advanced degrees in business and public policy at SMEs and public sector organisations in Africa From tits launch in 2011 the program has placed over 80 fellows in seven African countries. The TEF has also expanded its activities to include research under which the foundation will undertake and publish research in the areas of private sector development, entrepreneurship, another themes r e l a t e d t o A f r i c a n e c o n o m i c development. The foundation has also forged partnerships with organisations round the world that include the Tony Blair Foundation and is also has a member of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).The TEF has assembled an illustrious team that whose board includes a former prime minster of Pakistan, renowned Harvard Business School professor, Michael Porter, a former prime minster of Mozambique, and numerous high profile individuals from Africa and around the world.